A state delegate has chosen to donate his special session pay to a scholarship fund operated by his family.
Joshua Higginbotham, R-Putnam, announced Monday he will donate his special session salary to the Higginbotham Family Scholarship Fund. The fund provides scholarships to graduating seniors who live in or near Higginbotham’s district, which encompasses parts of Putnam, Mason, and Jackson counties.
Higginbotham said the decision was “the right thing to do,” calling it hypocritical for him to take the salary while state institutions and agencies face significant cuts as part of next fiscal year’s budget.
“I am fortunate to be in a position where I am able assist my community in a variety of ways, including, through legislation and policy making or by providing scholarships to deserving students,” Higginbotham said in a release.
State colleges and universities face significant cuts — about $16 million — in a budget bill passed Friday evening by the Legislature. Higginbotham was one of 64 delegates who voted for the budget bill on Friday.
Higginbotham, 21, is a college student. He is scheduled to graduate from the University of Charleston in December.
“The fact that I am merely a few years older than many of the students who would receive this scholarship money, it is easy for me to see and understand how hard the state makes it for our youth and thus do what I can to provide relief,” Higginbotham said in the release.
Higginbotham, his parents and his siblings all donate to the fund annually. Higginbotham said he will be donating $3,000, including the special session pay, this year. The fund has already provided five scholarships to high school graduates this year, Higginbotham said.